I was coming to school from the riverbank last Thursday with a load of metal fence posts, and post hole diggers. I entered the garden at Sunnyside in time to see the tail end of a classroom of kids leaving the garden, going back indoors.
I opened the shed to stow the equipment and noted two kids by the "Homework Center." One was lounging on a great curved truck of a tree, reading out loud, upside down. Her friend was close by sitting on the ground, back against the same trunk, eyes closed.
I thought, "How nice."
I put all the stuff away and took another moment to watch them, immersed in thier novel.
I checked the compost to make sure the new compost captains did a good job. (they had).
And then went back to the girls and the tree trunk.
I was waiting for them to come to an end of chapter, or page,
I finally said, "Girls. I think your class has already gone in."
They looked at me and then at each other, and leapt to their feet, and ran like wild girls back to the school.
Oh how I loved that, such deep absorption in a story, with a friend, in a beautiful place.
Friday were were walking Montrose Point with the 7th grade.
As you move along the curve of the revetment towards the Fishhook Pier,
the wind always picks up,
like the control on a thermostat,
and this day it was no different.
The wind picked up,
the temperature dropped,
the waves broke against the seawalls with greater and greater intensity.
The kids are not allowed on the lower tiers,
but as we approached the Point the waves broke over them (the tiers)
with bluster and foam.
When you get near the dune their is a 3-4 foot tall concrete wall protecting the walkway. So we let the kids approach the edge,
taking the chance that they might get splashed by a random wave....
The chance ...?
The absolute certainty ...
the thrill of knowing that something is coming,
something exciting ...
something powerful and shocking,
and beautiful and delightful ...
And of course it came.
After many small sprays,
a Katrina of a wave that blasted into the parapet wall,
and poured down on the students,
especially those most daring,
and their blue journals,
soaking their hair and
clothes and shoes.
It was so much fun.
We cajoled them away from the blast,
towards the dry, dune area,
to search the beach for bits of detritus:
to give use a clue as to what lives in this great
unfathomable stretch of fresh water,
this Lake Michigan.
In this time of endless distraction,
what a thing to see young people immersed in the mystery of
a snail shell,
the operculumn of a salmon,
the blue claw of a crayfish,
the tattered wing of a hunted and eaten bird
yellow and black stripes.
Chilled by the lake breeze we headed back to the Corinthian Yacht Club, by way of the dune, and then the magic Hedge.
At the highest point of the dune we snapped the photo here:
what a beautiful group, what a beautiful place and moment.
This week in Ecology:
Wednesday, Oct 4
5th Grade, Room 304
Our first Mighty Acorns trip of the 2017-18 school year. We are off to Sauganash Prairie Grove to learn how remnants of natural areas, embedded in cosmopolitan development, act like islands, surrounded by ocean. Biodiversity, and hence, ecological health, do most well on "islands" that are larger, and closer to sources of continual emmigration. We run a simulation game over and over in the picnic grove, before breaking into groups for free-exploration, and stewardship work. Join us at 9:00 by the fishtank for briefing and coffee. Bus leaves at 9:30, picnic lunch in the grove, and back to school by 1:15.
Thursday, Oct 5
5th Grade, Room 308, repeats the above adventure. Join us!
Friday, Oct 6
7th Grade, Room 301
visits Lake Michigan, at Montrose Point as described above. We travel by CTA, leaving at 9:00 and returning at 2:30. Pack a healthy and waste-free lunch and join us for a lovely day trip.
Wednesday night is Garden Night,
starting at 5:00, and going on until dark. Join us for work and friendship, and food and beautiful fall evenings.
The best to you all